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Agent charged with faking roof inspection

Faking a roof inspection caused a Key Largo insurance agent to be arrested Monday, says an affidavit filed by state investigators.

Richard J. Girard, 38, was booked on four felony counts in the case lodged by the Bureau of Insurance Fraud in the state Department of Financial Services.

The owner of the A-Rated Insurance Agency, Girard “admitted that it was a ‘bad judgment’ call” when he used outdated photos of a policyholder’s roof and submitted an inspection report with the signature of an inspector who never looked at the roof, says the affidavit filed Oct. 16.

As a result, state-owned Citizens Property Insurance “accepted an insurance application that otherwise would have been denied and [paid a policy] commission to defendant Ricard Girard in excess of $1,500,” investigator Jesus Amarante wrote.

Counts listed by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office during Monday booking include grand theft, insurance fraud less than $20,000, forgery and altering a public document.

Girard is accused of cropping dates from outdated roof photos, then copying the electronic signature of a roof inspector, who told the state investigator that “he had never done an inspection at that home and that the inspection report bearing his signature was forged.”

Girard was released later Monday, pending court action. No bond information was available.

Bad-light warrant

Michael T. Long, founder of a St. Petersburg youth-rehabilitation program and a former member of the Florida university system’s board of governors, was arrested Wednesday when a Pinellas County misdemeanor warrant turned up during a Big Pine Key traffic stop.

Long, 26, neither paid a $93 penalty for failure to have a legal anchor light on an anchored vessel nor appeared in court to contest the charge, says the Pinellas County warrant filed in August. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission issued the marine ticket, noting that Long had been warned about the light.

Long was driving a van stopped on Key Deer Boulevard by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office around 2 p.m. A computer check revealed the outstanding warrant. Long was released Wednesday night on a $513 bond.

His program, SailFuture, this week brought several teenagers to the Lower Keys to assist in recovery efforts, according to the non-profit group’s Facebook page. SailFuture uses “challenging sailing experiences” mixed with counseling and education to help “high-risk” youth.

Long went from being a juvenile offender himself to become one of 62 national Harry S. Truman Scholarship 2013 winners while attending New College of Florida in Sarasota, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

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